28 February 2011

Sunday afternoon walk

On Sunday I needed to take a walk... clear my head and just get out of the medical apartment. So I did what I do best... I took a photo walk.

This is kind of where I began. I love this old building. Apparently something exists on the inside but I'm not sure what.
I continued down a road and eventually found these houses. They are all different (the one on the right isn't occupied... obviously... but it does show you what a lot of houses look like here because people ran out of money to finish them so they are probably abroad now making the money). Then, the picture on the bottom right shows what is probably a home of either someone really wealthy here (possibly a banker) or someone who has been working hard abroad.

Check out this mama dog doing her job getting food for her pups. At least she is resourceful... and she wasn't too happy when I got too close to her "territory".

This is the arch in the center of Chisinau.
Cool textures.

... and the day concluded with meeting Mr. Nicolai. He stopped me on the street when I was walking and decided to tell me that he was very happy that I was here and that Moldovans like Americans and Romania and Moldova used to be one and they should still be one and that I should tell Obama and Hillary Clinton this because they need to know. Well, I'm not sure I will be telling them this because I do not know them personally and America is much bigger than Moldova, but I will do what I can (so if anyone has any connections to them, please send them in my direction so I can get them in contact with Mr. Nicolai). Mr. Nicolai even recited a poem to me from the famous Mihai Eminescu. Here is the first strophe. It's basically saying from from the river Nistru until the Tissa, all is Romanian land. Mr. Nicolai said that because of this poem, it shows it's true and Moldova should be part of Romania because it used to be so.

De la Nistru pan’ la Tissa
Tot romanul plansu-mi-s-a,
Ca nu mai poate strabate
De-atata strainatate.

Oh, and he is not a liar liar pants on fire. But when I told him I was cold (because I was) he kept wishing me good health and happiness in my personal life and he said he'd let me go... but then he kept wishing me health and happiness and then when two other PCV's happened to cross our path, he decided he wanted to wish them health and happiness, too. And tell them to talk to Hillary Clinton and Obama.

Traveling circus?

Yesterday I took a really long walk, and at the end of it I found this circus... I think that's what it is. Unfortunately I wasn't able to take many pictures because they shooed me away... which I'm not quite sure as to why I wasn't allowed to, but at least I got some shots in the process :) What I find really interesting is that this didn't exist in the fall when the weather was nice, but now, as it's snowing and really cold, it's here.

27 February 2011

Church and Prison

Yesterday a friend took me on an "excursion" to Metro, which is basically like Costco. You must have a membership and bring your own bags... and you can buy many things in bulk. We went there for... well, I can't tell you yet. But on Tuesday I will.

Anyways, we stopped for gas on the way there... and I saw the tower (pictured on the right). I said, "Wow. That watch tower makes this look like a concentration camp" and my friend said, "It's a prison". Well, that makes sense then.... and I didn't even know there was a prison in Chisinau (but that's not surprising considering I still can hardly find my way around in this city even though I've spent a lot of time here).
Then, after the Metro trip, we decided to go to the only Catholic Church here in Chisinau and attend the Mass. It has been a long time since I actually attended a Catholic mass and I was reminded why... and just how much I miss the pastor at the church I attended at home on occasion since I was little... But I did learn that the service at a Catholic mass is the same everywhere and the only difference is the "real life" story the Priest tells in relation to the scripture for the day... which makes sense as to why there are Catholic churches all over the world and that people attend mass even if they don't know the language... because they can look online and find the scriptures for the day. This I find very fascinating.

... but the message yesterday was about worry. While the "real life" scenario the Priest told related to alcoholism, I could obviously still relate it to my life since that seems to be a huge part of it lately. Whenever I do attend church I always seem to find that the message is slapping me in the face, and it is almost like there was a reason my heart told me to attend a service on that day. Hmm.

Puppy Love

26 February 2011

Should I stay or should I go

If you couldn't tell, I'd been battling the question of should I stay or should I go for over a month now (if not even longer).

It was so hard for me because so much hit me at once... and let's not forget that it's winter. Just when I would feel better and I'd decided I wanted to stay...something else was thrown my way and I would want to go home. I just couldn't make up my mind.

and... I'm staying.

(and now you can stop reading if you want... I kinda start to ramble after this)

I really do want to be here. Once I realized that deep down I felt that way, I immediately started to feel like myself again. I mean, definitely not totally. But a step closer and a huge step out of that dark hole that I'd been living in for the past month or so. But the question remained of exactly how that was going to happen. Brainstorming with different people I was able to come up with a bunch of ideas of what changes could be made to make (and keep!) me happy and also to have a win-win situation that would also keep me on track with the teaching program here... but it seemed like we could never come up with that "perfect" scenario. I dislike parter teaching (not my partners... they're awesome!!!... but the act of teaching in two but we're supposed to be one....), I LOVE teaching by myself, I don't want to switch programs because I love teaching and I want the experience in the classroom, I don't want to leave my site because I love my students and my partners and the relationship I've formed with them... and the list went on and on...

And then it hit me.

Why not compromise? (Imagine that).

Continue this semester as is. Then next semester I'll talk with the Director at my school and my partners and see if we can't make a plan so that one day a week with every class I teach I'll have a day to myself to teach the kiddos. And over the summer I'll work really hard with my project partner to get everything prepared for the Skype project so she can get it started and running in the fall and I won't be needed much for it (after all, I can't have control over everything and if I were to be running the program it wouldn't work as well because I don't have the language skills to make sure everything is communicated correctly with the kids, and after I do go back to America I hope the project continues... so she's gotta do it herself).

So now I'm even one step closer to feeling like me again. And boy oh boy is that a great feeling.

-Mario Andretti

25 February 2011

Big kids, crayons, and the autogara

On Thursday the topic of the lesson in the 11th form was "communication across borders". The other day we taught them about letters and had them write letters to American students... and on Thursday we taught them about postcards. So they made some of their own.
I think the best part was seeing 17 and 18 year olds using crayons and markers. And enjoying it. (I'm glad I'm not the only one!!)
Then, after school, I hopped on a rutiera to head to Chisinau. We stopped in Riscani, which is my raion (kind of like county... it's hard to explain because this really doesn't exist in America). I needed to go to the bank and in order to do that I needed to walk through the piata (open market.... kind of like a flea market). These exist everywhere. Almost every village and city has a piata whether it is daily or weekly. In Varatic we have it on Sunday. In the piata you can get anything from clothes to food to electrical equipment. Well, usually the piata is packed... and this was the first time I'd seen it in Riscani totally deserted. I think it made for some really pretty photos.
... Piata guard dogs. (Not really. They're just strays. But they were cute and hanging out in the empty piata!)
The photo on the bottom left is the veceu at the autogara (bus station). You pay 2 lei when you walk in and then go to a stall that you can see over- and do your business in a hole. It's actually kind of nice because it's a ceramic hole... not just a hole in the cement like the outdoor bathrooms at our school and Mayor's office.
And Orange is the cell phone company I use. It's the equivalent of AT&T. They have iPhones, although it is pretty rare to see someone with an iPhone.

23 February 2011

Good day

Today was a good day. I woke up to even MORE snow.

Then I got to teach all 6 hours of classes ALL by myself because my partner teachers had seminars to go to (and apparently 6 full hours with 30-40 kids in them really got to my head... because the students saying "Octomber" all the time caused me to write it for the calendar I was making)

While I didn't exactly have a plan for any of the classes when the day began... it went pretty well. They seemed to enjoy the games we played (which, even though this video has "English" as the word for them to write, the rest of the words were actually vocabulary). (PS- check out the new dry erase board!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!)

...and then I got them to recite "You are my sunshine", which I will watch when I have a bad day because it was so awesome.

... and it continued to snow even MORE so I took more pictures.

... and my host mom made a "baba zapada" (aka old snow woman).

... and now I'm super tired. But happy that it was a good day.

22 February 2011

The bird

Today I was outside photographing some of my students in the snow... and a 3rd grader walked away from me, and just as I clicked the shutter, he had given me the bird. Intentionally.

I take this as one of two ways: either my skype project really really really needs to get moving (apparently his mother "gets with many men" and his father left for another woman... aka lack of discipline and structure at home aka reason for the project)


It's time to move on.

21 February 2011

Arts and Crafts

When I woke up this morning it was snowing. So I knew it was a day to bring my camera with me to school. And I'm glad I did. (first full week back after... well... a rather long haitus of full weeks off and/or semi-weeks = a bit of anxiety and stress for the week to come... = camera necessary).

I saw this on my walk to school....
And made friends with some doorbells (yes, I did say doorbells. At least in the villages, a doorbell doesn't exist. An adorable dog is the doorbell.)
This one thought he was so mean... until he realized I liked him so then he liked me and he was so sweet. And camera shy...

I pass this house (on the right) every day when going to school when I take the short cut (which is every day since I'm usually running just a little behind)... And that is the "gate" I duck under every day... usually with a few bags in tow (I'm surprised they don't call me 'the bag lady" yet.)

sOnce I got to school I had some time off. So I decided to start crafting. After my hour off, I had my 9th form class again. During the break they decided to help me with my craft... then after the break they decided they wanted to keep helping me. Since my partner teacher had some work to do, she agreed it was ok. We told the kiddos they were responsible for whatever we were going to be talking about during that time, but in reality we didn't even know so they got a day off. Again.
So we worked the whole period cutting and gluing and coloring.

And cutting and gluing and coloring some more.

The finished project is the 2nd photo down on the left... the flowers.

They also assisted with the rain drops to add to the umbrella I made last week (and I thought I'd show you what I've done with some of the post cards I've received... I'd love more!!!!)

... can you tell I'm sick of winter and ready for spring?!?!??!